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Historic Queen Anne greystone bites the dust for new 22-story Gold Coast tower

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Built as a single-family residence, the old structure recently housed a restaurant

An excavator stands atop a pile of rubble in a narrow lot between two buildings along an urban block. The site is screened behind construction fencing.
16 W. Maple is no more. The building at 12 W. Maple (right) will also be demolished for a new building.
Jay Koziarz

After standing for more than 130 years along Maple Street, a four-story greystone in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood is officially no more. Crews demolished the historic structure for an upcoming 22-story development, approved by the Chicago Plan Commission in September.

The old stone building at 16 W. Maple was built in the 1880s as a single-family residence, according to Preservation Chicago. It featured burnt red terracotta ornamentation, including a pair of detailed exterior columns and a decorative lion’s head medallion embedded in the pediment. The structure most recently housed the Merlo on Maple restaurant.

The old building held an orange designation in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey, which required it to serve a 90-day demolition hold after its owners applied for permits to tear the property down. The city-mandated delay expired in August, and the demolition permit was granted in late September, according to Chicago Cityscape.

Its high-rise replacement, designed by Chicago-based architecture firm Booth Hansen, will rise 330 feet and include 18 high-end condo units and retail space on its lower floors. The new building comes from developers David Pisor and James Lasky, who also built the neighboring Maple & Ash steakhouse.

Before the new Gold Coast tower can climb skyward, the adjacent four-story building at 12 W. Maple will need to come down. The commercial structure is currently home to a handful of businesses including a fitness studio and bridal boutique.

Preservationists have long advocated for protecting downtown Chicago’s rapidly dwindling supply of historic (albeit non-landmarked) 19th-century buildings. In March, the Chicago Commission on Landmarks started the process of approving a new historic district that would protect 16 post-fire mansions and row homes on the city’s Near North Side. The Queen Anne greystone at 12 W. Maple, however, was not among those properties.

A dusk drawing of a high-rise development with a glass and stone facade. The narrow building rises out of frame and stands above the surrounding structures.
A rendering of the new tower slated for the site.
Booth Hansen, courtesy Chicago Department of Planning and Development